At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like we are navigating the different levels of a video game. Except this isn’t a video game, this is real life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. When vaccines drove the infection rates down, up popped the Delta variant. Now, the COVID-19 variant Omicron is spreading at lightning speed.
Why and How Viruses Mutate
Viruses are constantly making copies of themselves to reproduce. Over time, random changes (mutations) occur in the copies. Most times, these mutations are so small that there’s no change in how the virus behaves. If enough mutations arise, a new variation or strain of the virus can emerge.
As we are barely gaining ground on COVID-19 two years later, it’s understandable our knowledge of Omicron is minimal. We don’t yet know:
- How easily it spreads
- The severity of illness it causes
- How well available vaccines and medications work against it
Based on the changed genetic makeup and initial observations reported in those infected, the CDC lists the following information about Omicron:
- The Omicron variant likely will spread more quickly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- Anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
- Some treatments are likely to remain effective, while others may be less effective.
Vaccinate, Get Your Booster, and Join the Fight to End COVID-19
Scientists and health officials expect that current vaccines will continue to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, it’s still possible for breakthrough infections to occur in fully vaccinated people. Vaccines have remained effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death with other variants like Delta. The emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
Arizona Clinical Trials offers COVID-19 resources through our clinical trials. Explore your options today! Visit our website to complete the application to see if you qualify.